At 84, award-winning actress Rita Moreno is a product of her own success and upbringing. “I was the artsy one,” she said, “and my husband took care of all our finances. It was the Latino way ― the man is in charge of the money.” And when her husband of 46 years died four years ago, the order of her world spiraled out of control.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Moreno, who will be featured on Netflix in Norman Lear’s Latino remake of his blockbuster hit “One Day At A Time,” said her predicament of not understanding her own finances wasn’t all that unique given her age and cultural background.
“Many older women who become widowed are in the same boat,” she said. She has become a spokeswoman for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ “Life Unscripted” initiative. NAIC does not sell insurance, but rather educates consumers about insurance issues. The program includes advice for all stages of life, but is of special importance to older women, she said.
Moreno said that she was “the traditional wife who did not know much about the household’s financial well-being.” During her marriage to cardiologist Dr. Leonard Gordon, he was solely responsible for handling the family’s financial affairs. After his death, Moreno told HuffPost, she was not only emotionally exhausted, but completely unprepared to take on the complexities of financial planning.
Moreno, who is one of 12 EGOT winners ― an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award ― allows how “Looking back, it would have been much wiser for us to have taken the time to share that information with each other. Losing him was hard enough, but the added stress of not knowing anything about our insurance or finances made it even tougher.”
In the Latino remake of “One Day At A Time,” Moreno plays the widowed mother of the central character. The family is Cuban and Moreno gave HuffPost a taste of the thick Cuban accent she uses in the series. “It’s a very authentically Latino-oriented show,” she said. “Hilarious, but every episode deals with an issue relating to the world-at-large.”
No comment on whether those issues might include the need for older women ― especially Latinas who were raised otherwise ― to understand their finances. Her NAIC campaign includes radio spots distributed in both English and Spanish.